Larger hippocampus size in women with anorexia nervosa who exercise excessively than healthy women

Janelle N. Beadle, Sergio Paradiso, Michael Brumm, Michelle Voss, Katherine Halmi, Laurie M. McCormick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Exercise has been shown to increase hippocampal volume in healthy older adults. Observations from animal models of diabetes and hypertension suggest that the combination of exercise and caloric restriction may exert greater neuroprotection in the hippocampus than either behavior alone. Yet, in humans, the effects of exercise and caloric restriction on the hippocampus are not known. We measured the volume of the hippocampus prior to clinical treatment in women with anorexia nervosa (AN) who were restricting calories and engaging in excessive exercise, women with AN who did not exercise excessively, and healthy women who did not engage in either behavior. Women with AN were also examined longitudinally (once weight was restored and 6 months later). In the present report, we found that women with AN engaged in caloric restriction and excessive exercising prior to clinical treatment had larger hippocampal volumes than healthy comparison women. After weight restoration, women with AN who had engaged in food restriction and excessive exercise prior to treatment had hippocampal volumes similar to that of women with AN who only engaged in caloric restriction. These results advance the field by showing for the first time that hippocampal volume may be increased by exercise alone or exercise interacting with food restriction in AN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-199
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 30 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Caloric restriction
  • Eating disorders
  • Exercise
  • Hippocampus
  • Neuroimaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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